Breast cancer follow-ups 'no longer guess-work' thanks to new physics research

March 01, 2004

As the number of breast cancer patients rises, and hospitals struggle to meet the growing cost of healthcare provision, new research by physicists could help divert funds into frontline treatment such as chemotherapy drugs and better imaging technology.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in England and Wales and one in nine women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Research published today (Monday 1st March 2004) in the Institute of Physics journal Physics in Medicine & Biology reveals a new technique that will help doctors to judge more accurately how long they should continue to see patients following successful treatment of breast cancer. Doctors currently see patients for follow-up examinations for up to ten years in order to check for recurrence of the tumour. Until now, this length time (the "follow-up period") has been guess-work by doctors, and is generally much longer than necessary.

Dr. Richard Mould, the lead author of the paper, said: "Doctors tend to follow-up cancer patients for much longer than is really necessary, using hospital resources that could be better spent on frontline treatment such as chemotherapy drugs and better imaging technology in hospitals."

He continued: "This is the first time scientists have produced a formal way of calculating a precise length of follow-up needed, and it can be specific to a particular hospital or region. Our study suggests that follow up times can be reduced from ten years to four years without significantly reducing our ability to detect local tumour reccurrance. This means that six years worth of a physician's time and outpatient clinic costs could instead be diverted to parts of the treatment process where it would do more good."

Using data taken from a series of patients with T1 and T2 stage (primary tumours up to 5cm in greatest dimension) breast cancer from the Institut Curie in Paris, Dr. Mould developed a model which involves calculating a "trade-off" between the maximum length of time needed for follow-up against the number of patients who will experience a delay. He found that doctors at Institut Curie could reduce their follow-up period from ten years to four years without any significant delay in detection of recurrence for breast cancer patients.

The research team, led by Dr Mould, included Bernard Asselain and Yann De Rycke, from the Institut Curie, Paris, France.
-end-
Links
If you run this story, please include the following URL links where possible. Please also mention that this is published today in an Institute of Physics journal.

Physics in Medicine & Biology
http://www.iop.org/EJ/PMB
Institute of Physics
http://www.iop.org
Institut Curie
http://www.curie.fr/

CancerHelp UK (a free information service about cancer and cancer care for people with cancer and their families provided by Cancer Research UK).
http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. The paper 'Methodology to predict a maximum follow-up period for breast cancer patients without significantly reducing the chance of detecting a local recurrence' by Richard F. Mould, Bernard Asselain and Yann De Rycke will be published in the Institute of Physics journal Physics in Medicine & Biology on 1st March 2004. It is available during the embargo period on request. The reference for this paper is: Physics in Medicine & Biology, Vol. 5, 7 March 2004.

2. For further information contact: David Reid, Press Officer, Institute of Physics, Tel: 207-470-4815 or 773-425-6729, e-mail: david.reid@iop.org.

3. Alternatively, contact the authors directly. Dr Richard Mould: Tel: 208-657-8976, E-mail: richardfmould@hotmail.com.

4. The Institute of Physics is a leading international professional body and learned society with over 37,000 members, which promotes the advancement and dissemination of a knowledge of and education in the science of physics, pure and applied. It has a world-wide membership and is a major international player in:
  • scientific publishing and electronic dissemination of physics;
  • setting professional standards for physicists and awarding professional qualifications;
  • promoting physics through scientific conferences, education and science policy advice.

    The Institute is a member of the Science Council, and a nominated body of the Engineering Council. The Institute works in collaboration with national physical societies and plays an important role in transnational societies such as the European Physical Society and represents British and Irish physicists in international organisations. In Great Britain and Ireland the Institute is active in providing support for physicists in all professions and careers, encouraging physics research and its applications, providing support for physics in schools, colleges and universities, influencing government and informing public debate.

    IOP Publishing

    Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

    Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
    The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

    Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
    New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

    Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
    Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

    Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
    Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

    More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
    A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

    Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
    A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

    Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
    Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

    Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
    A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

    Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
    Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

    Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
    A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

    Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
  • Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.